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The Arrival of Bourdonnais

A work made of etching and engraving printed in yellow, blue, red, and black inks on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching and engraving printed in yellow, blue, red, and black inks on paper.

Date:

1795

Artist:

Charles-Melchior Descourtis
French, 1753-1820

About this artwork

One of the most accomplished color printmakers of his era, Charles Melchior Descourtis produced a body of work that is small and relatively unknown. Descourtis learned his method of multiple-plate color printing from Jean Frarnçois Janinet and like him used toolwork on the plate rather than aquatint, an acid immersion process used to create general areas of shading.
In this print, the governor of Mauritius, Monsieur Bourdonnais, has arrived for breakfast at the home of Paul and Virginie. He excitedly tells the family that Virginie’s wealthy aunt has requested for Virginie to join her at her house in Paris. The mothers agree, understanding that this could provide an opportunity for upward social mobility and a chance to inherit the aunt’s fortune. Additionally, they decide that separating their very close—but now adolescent—children could be the best way to prevent a relationship between them, which could ruin their social reputations and chances for future marriage.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Charles Melchior Descourtis

Title

The Arrival of Bourdonnais

Origin

France

Date

Made 1795

Medium

Etching and engraving printed in yellow, blue, red, and black inks on paper

Dimensions

375 × 410 mm (image); 420 × 465 mm (sheet, cut within platemark)

Credit Line

The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection

Reference Number

1926.478

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/28753/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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